Posted by: rstor | May 13, 2015

Ten Top Tips for Eventing from Michaela Huntington

feb AH mag

If you are planning on undertaking your first BE80 or BE90 events this year, this blog is for you! As featured in Absolute Horse Magazine RS-tor rider Michaela Huntington has compiled her top tips to succeed and compete at your best.

Michaela says…

Dressage Test:

  1. Regardless of whether you are allowed a caller, the test must be firmly committed to memory as it is common for nerves to affect riders on the day, causing a complete blank during your performance. Ensure you are well practiced in all the separate parts of the test and can deliver a smooth and accurate effort on the day.
  2. Your initial centre line entry is vital, being the first impression given to the judges. A straight line down the centre line is one of the hardest parts as nearly all horses tend to drift left or right. A good start will set you up well and is easily practised with someone on the ground to watch for wobbles!
  3. Transitions must happen exactly at the place required, and can commonly cause the loss of your working outline. A good technique is to think well ahead and prepare your horse for the change of pace to avoid any resistance. Encourage a tiny little bit of extra inside bend to help maintain your outline during transitions.

Showjumping:

  1. It is common to see eventers adopt the more forward cross country style of riding when showjumping. Remember that this phase should be ridden with a slightly slower, more collected canter, so keep your position a little more upright and sit a little deeper in the saddle to help maintain the correct pace.
  2. As showjumps are so much closer together and often related to each other with distances and doubles, avoid taking off too far away from the fence, as horses can flatten and knock a pole down.
  3. Know your striding between a distance – the aim is to get even strides, with no half strides ruining the rhythm. Practise at home with jumps five and six strides apart. Walk the distances, knowing how many of your strides equal one of your horse’s (for my horses it is approximately four long ones, but this must be tailored to yourself).

The Cross Country phase:

  1. You must know your route well, walking the course as many times as you need to plan the best way round. Flags can be a pitfall and can be positioned on a course without a jump but must be negotiated correctly. Flags may be altered for different classes, so study the course plan carefully.
  2. Know the time required and choose where to save seconds. Ensure you have a good quality eventing watch and know where you should be at various points of time. An optimum time can be difficult to judge accurately, but you will improve with experience.
  3. Many horses will have problems at the water complex, so do your homework and you won’t be one of them. Practise over as many different ditches and water as you can at various venues hired for the purpose, and on any hacks. Ride the XC element of an event (and the show jumping element) with an RS-tor Rider Safety Aid, as it can help prevent a fall, and gives security in the moment of suspension over a fence – ideal over ditches and water jumps!
  4. Fitness is absolutely essential. If your horse has to complete three phases in a day he must be as keen for the last fence as the first one. Tired horses are more likely to make mistakes. Build up to your event, aiming to have him at peak fitness on the day. Rider fitness is equally important!”

To find out more about the RS-tor Rider Safety Aid, ideal for cross country schooling and show jumping visit the website at www.rstor.co.uk 


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